Experimental evidence of thermal vibrational convection in a nonuniformly heated fluid in a reduced gravity environment

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Aug 22;101(8):084501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.101.084501. Epub 2008 Aug 19.


We report experimental evidence of convection caused by translational vibration of nonuniformly heated fluid in low gravity. The theory of vibrational convection in weightlessness is well developed but direct experimental proof has been missing. An innovative point of the experiment is the observation of a temperature field in the front and side views of the cubic cell. In addition, particle tracing is employed. The evolution of this field is studied systematically in a wide range of frequencies and amplitudes. The flow structures reported in previous numerical studies are confirmed. The transition from four-vortex flow to the pattern with three vortices is observed in the transient state.